By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is a unique and personal thing to complete. As an estate planning attorney for more than 20 years I’ve seen all kinds of ideas and goals that people have come up with as part of their estate planning. Really, an estate plan can be as unique as the individual who creates it.

One of the things I have found is that most people want to have a plan in place that doesn’t require a lot of time and maintenance to keep current. I completely understand this. I believe that getting a good estate plan done through a competent and qualified attorney is worth the money. However, I can understand that people don’t want to have to keep returning to the lawyer every time they want to give a specific gift through their written last will and testament. The good news is, they don’t need to use an attorney when this happens.

Idaho law, and specifically Idaho Code § 15-2-510 creates a way for a person to leave specific gifts without having to go back to the lawyer every time they want to do one. This statute states specifically that “Any writing in existence when a will is executed may be incorporated by reference if the language of the will manifests this intent and describes the writing sufficiently to permit its identification.”

To put it simply, this statute allows a person to use a specific gift list as part of their written will. We actually do this for our clients. The very last page of the will is a specific gift list. We have a paragraph in the written will that refers to this list. Additionally, the language in the will incorporates this list into the written will as if it was written by the lawyer. This gives our clients the ability to write down specific gifts they would like to give long after they have completed their will through the attorney.

If our clients write a gift down on this list, then that becomes a binding part of their written will. Additionally, the specific gift that is listed is given from the estate first, before any general gifts are given to anyone else. For example, if a dad left a specific watch to one of his sons on the specific gift list, this gift would be given first. Then, if the dad said that the rest of his property would be divided equally among his children then that is what would happen after the watch is already given to the first son.

This is one of many tips and tricks that a good estate planning attorney can use as part of a well-written estate plan. If you have questions about how this works, or any other aspect of estate planning, please contact us for a free 30-minute consultation. We would be happy to answer your questions and to help you create your own customized estate plan.


If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lane@racineolson.com. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I’m confident that I can help you too.

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